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RapidWeld: A Cost and Time Saving Process for Offshore Wind

Mon, 08 November, 2021

An innovative new process that will reduce welding times by up to 80% is to be trialled at the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

Ebflow Reduced Pressure Electron Beam (RPEB) welding is due to be used at the Dogger Bank A phase of the wind farm to fabricate welds on offshore wind foundation monopiles. This process will reduce welding times from hours to just a matter of minutes and is the first time the process has been used on a large-scale offshore infrastructure project.

This work is part of the collaborative RapidWeld project, which aims to develop an industry-approved welding process that is more productive and sustainable than current methods, while also reducing energy and material costs.

In addition, the Ebflow RPEB will reduce carbon emissions associated with traditional welding procedures by 90%.

TWI is working alongside SSE Renewables, Aquasium Technologies (trading as Cambridge Vacuum Engineering, and Sif. SSE Renewables are leading the construction and delivery with Equinor operating the wind farm once completed. Once completed, Dogger Bank will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world.

The project has received a smart grant of £600k from Innovate UK, which is part of the UK Government backed Research and Innovation organisation.

Ebflow RPEB uses heat generated by a beam of high-energy electrons to make a high strength and durable welded steel join in a clean and efficient way, reducing the cost of offshore wind foundation monopiles by as much as 20%.

Because Ebflow uses a local vacuum it allows the system to be easily transported and operated on-site and applied to structures significantly larger than those that can be accommodated in a traditional vacuum chamber.

SSE Renewables’ Project Director for Dogger Bank Wind Farm, Steve Wilson said, “This is a ‘first-in-class’ project, establishing this UK innovation as world-leading technology. With monopile type foundations accounting for over 90% of foundations used in UK projects, Ebflow RPEB could realise significant cost savings on future projects. These substantial savings will not only benefit the UK offshore engineering industry but could be passed on to UK energy consumers. It’s exciting that Ebflow is being used at Dogger Bank – a project which continues to contribute to the UK economy by creating jobs and supporting the supply chain. No doubt, other offshore projects across the world could ultimately benefit from what the Rapidweld partnership achieves.”

Chief Operating Officer for Sif, Frank Kevenaar said, “We see great potential in the Ebflow RPEB welding process for thick section welding. Reduced distortion and elimination of filler material are, amongst others, great advantages. We are very pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to this innovative project that is joining forces and expertise to create new cost-effective production methods.”


The RapidWeld project has received funding from Innovate UK under No 71824

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